Sky Lakes Basin Loop
ElevationAscent: 2,238' 682 m
Descent: -2,233' -681 m
High: 6,812' 2,076 m
Low: 5,992' 1,826 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 21% (12°)
Popular runs nearby
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0.5 mi 0.8 km • Point to Point • 129 ft Ascent 39.37 m Ascent
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4.5 mi 7.2 km • Out and Back • 1,236 ft Ascent 376.74 m Ascent
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“A tour of the northern Sky Lakes Basin past lakes and expansive views.”— Bruce Hope
Although the Sky Lakes is a popular wilderness, this loop will take you far enough from popular trailheads to afford you some solitude. Water is plentiful, as are campsites. The larger lakes are ideal for swimming.
From the Puck Lakes Spur Trail, the Nannie Creek Trail #3707 continues descending to a junction with the Snow Lakes Trail #3739 at 4.5 miles from the trailhead. Along the way, you'll pass through an open area covered with plate-like rocks. From here, you have a view south to Pelican Butte, Mount McLoughlin, and Mount Shasta.
Turn right (north) onto the Snow Lakes Trail #3739 and follow it uphill through the forest, past several small, unnamed lakes, to another open area with those plate-like rocks. From here, you'll have a view east to Upper Klamath Lake. Continue on up the #3739 as it levels out on the rim, passes between the Snow Lakes and ends at a junction with the PCT some 6.4 miles from the trailhead. This area was ravaged by the 2014 Camp Creek Complex Fire.
Turn left (south) here on to the PCT and follow it south, with views of Devils Peak to the north, to its junction with the Divide Trail #3717. This junction is where there is an extremely sharp turn in the PCT; so sharp, you might miss it if you're not looking for it.
Turn left (east) here on to the #3717 and follow it down the south slopes of Luther Mountain and out along the rim above Margurette Lake. There are good views along here of the big lakes below and of Klamath Lake to the east. Continue down past Lake No-See-Um to the trails end at its junction with the Sky Lakes Trail #3762 at Margurette Lake, 10.3 miles from the trailhead. The #3762 is coming in from the east here and leaving to the north and its easy to confuse the two and go east instead of north.
Stay on the Sky Lakes Trail #3762 going north, as it starts a gradual climb up past a junction with the Donna Lake Trail #3734, then past Snow Lakes (not the same ones you passed coming in) and Martin Lake to a junction with the Nannie Creek Trail #3707 some 12.3 miles from the trailhead. Turn right (east) here and take the #3707 back past the Puck Lakes Spur Trail to the trailhead. This loop can be done as a long day trip or as a mellow 2- or 3-day backpack.
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